Jan. 31, 2024 School Committee Meeting

Jan. 31, 2024 School Committee Meeting
Posted on 01/29/2024
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Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair
Mr. Paul Bregoli & Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Subcommittee Members

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 6:05 pm
Coddington Building, School Committee Room

  1. ST Math Update - Ms. Quinn, Ms. Haugh, Ms. Quigley

  2. MCAS & MAP Mathematics Vocabulary - Ms. Perkins, Mr. Marani, Mr. Tierney, Ms. Vaughan

  3. Assessment Update - Mr. Marani

Members of the public can access the meeting in person or live on QATV Channel 22 or at qatv.org. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on Friday, February 2, 2024 on the QPS YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@QuincyPS.


Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on January 31, 2024 at 6:05 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Subcommittee members Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Subcommittee Chair. Also present were School Committee Members Mrs. Tina Cahill and Mrs. Courtney Perdios; Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Christine Barrett, Ms. Kim Connolly, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Julie Graham, Ms. Ashley Haugh, Mr. Michael Marani, Ms. Courtney Mitchell, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Meghan Quigley, Ms. Kimberley Quinn, Mr. Christopher Tierney, Ms. Bridget Vaughan; NQHS Student Representative Amy Tan; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Coordinator of Mathematics Kim Quinn and Math Interventionists Meghan Quigley and Ashley Haugh presented an overview of the ST Math program, implemented for Grades 5 and 6 at South~West and Point Webster Middle School. The focus of the program is spatial-temporal reasoning as an approach to Mathematics mastery. This online program helps students transfer visual problem-solving to symbolic (traditional) problem-solving. Consistent use of this program has demonstrated success in raising student achievement on state standardized tests and students are already showing growth in RIT scores year over year by cohort. Through the support of the One8 foundation, Clifford Marshall and Lincoln Hancock Grade 4 students began using the program at the beginning of this school year. Next year, Snug Harbor, Merrymount, Parker, and Squantum Grades 3-5 will begin using the program.

Mrs. Hubley asked how much time is spent on the program; some schools will use every day, others will use three days a week (between 60 and 90 minutes per week, goal of 40-60 puzzles weekly). Mrs. Hubley asked if students can work on it at home, Ms. Quinn said students can if they wish but the grant is for in-school use. Mrs. Hubley asked about the grade range, the program is meant for students up to Grade 6. It can also be used at Grades 7 & 8 as an intervention tool for students with gaps in foundational skills.

Mr. Bregoli asked if there is an option for using manipulatives along with the program and that is encouraged.

Mrs. Perdios asked if there is an opportunity for collaboration, but the program is meant to be used individually. Each student is on their own journey with the program, working at an individual pace.

Ms. Tan asked about the celebrations, all students will be recognized over the course of the year for a number of different categories

Mrs. Lebo complimented the program alignment with standards and MAP data can show the areas of needed growth.

Curriculum Director Michael Marani, ELA Coordinator Bridget Vaughan, and Data Coordinator Christopher Tierney presented an overview of MCAS and MAP, the differences and connections. The primary types of assessment are adaptive (MAP) vs. non-adaptive (MCAS). Adaptive tests are computer-based and tailor the difficulty of test items to student performance as they take the assessment. Questions generally get easier if a student is struggling and harder if a student is excelling. Non-adaptive tests have a pre-determined set of questions and may be computer-based or paper-based.

The Assessment timeline has students in Grades 2-8 taking the MAP Assessment in fall, winter, and spring, along with the Amplify mCLASS Screening for Grades K-3. MCAS Assessments begin in March (ELA) and continue through April and May (Mathematics) and June (Science/Tech Engineering). MCAS data is available in August/September following the spring administration and compared to other students in Massachusetts; students will have transitioned to a new grade and sometimes a new school. MAP data is immediately available and compared to national norms. Individual student profiles are generated with suggested areas of focus and the teacher or administrator has the ability to set growth goals for a student. The MAP student profile also can provide a projection of MCAS performance, this is a fairly new feature and in analyzing 2023 data, it was 66.7% accurate.

Mrs. Hubley asked if a higher achieving student would continue to have increasing achievement goals. Mr. Marani said this would be used more for students where the achievement gap needs to be made up.

Mr. Bregoli asked if MCAS performance might be impacted by the pacing of the curriculum instruction and the timing of the assessment. Ms. Vaughan said this is reviewed each year; for example, in the 2nd year of the ELA program rollout, the pacing is being adjusted to ensure that the appropriate skills and strategies are being taught prior to MCAS administration.

Mr. Bregoli noted that the MCAS questions have equal weight regardless of the topic

Mr. Bregoli asked if constructed responses are still part of the MCAS Mathematics, Mr. Marani said that these types of questions are still required, students explain how they arrived at an answer and can be among the most complex, especially for EL students. Ms. Perkins agreed, especially noticeable at the middle school level.

Mrs. Cahill said that the MAP Individual profiles are valuable information for educators throughout a student’s career.

Mrs. Perdios noted that for higher achieving students, the RIT score gains are lower. Ms. Perkins said that the growth is often highest for students who start out below grade level. Students who are above grade level need to demonstrate some growth, but you can’t go above the 100th percentile.

Mrs. Perdios asked how much time an average MAP session is versus MCAS. Ms. Vaughan said for MAP, about an hour for ELA and less for Math and Science. Students who seem to be rapidly guessing to finish are flagged and the session may be invalidated and re-administered. MCAS is untimed and sessions are predicted to be 1.5 to 2 hours but can last longer.

Mrs. Perdios asked if MAP data is available at the state level, but it is not. It is an optional assessment, not every district in Massachusetts uses the assessment.

Mrs. Lebo said the data available to teachers is remarkable, so much more than in previous years.

Ms. Tan asked about individualized student goals, is there a connection with ST Math to place the student(s). Mr. Marani said analyzing the class data will show where the larger group needs supports, with individual targeted supports planned for variables.

Ms. Tan asked about the incentive for students, Ms. Perkins said that teachers can assist with students setting their own goals.

Ms. Tan asked if MAP data is a factor in the Central APC placement, Ms. Perkins confirmed that it is one factor, along with MCAS and the CTOP.

Mr. Bregoli asked about IEP accommodations, Ms. Perkins said these are also observed for MAP wherever possible.

Mrs. Cahill thanked Ms. Tan for her insightful questions and her student experience. Mrs. Lebo agreed, Ms. Tan always adds something to the conversation.

Mr. Marani presented a brief update on the MCAS Civics field test for Grade 8 (50% of the grade at each middle school). There will be two sessions: a state-level performance task where each school will be assigned a topic by the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education and the end of course test (50-60 minutes of testing). These will take place between April 29 and June 7.

All students in Grades 5 and 8 will take the pilot extended STE MCAS; the first session will be the regular assessment (data reported) and the second session will be the pilot (data not reported). This is not a statewide pilot, 60 districts were selected. In 2025, all districts will field test the new test format with the expectation of rolling out the revised MCAS for 2026. This will be administered during the typical MCAS window in late May-early June.

Point Webster will be administering the NEAP to 50 Grade 8 students, half for ELA and half for Math on February 12. Students were selected at random, and parents can opt out of this additional assessment.

Mrs. Perdios said that the assessment schedule overlap for MCAS, MAP, and the Civics Field Test in the May-June is a lot and asked if the same students could be selected for NAEP and the Civics Field Test, QPS has no control over this so the same student could be. Ms. Perkins said that QPS has control over when the MAP is administered, will work with the principals to ensure students have space between the assessments.

Ms. Tan asked about the Civics field test and the assigned topics, Mr. Marani said all of these topics are covered in Grade 8. There are practice performance tasks available to assist students in learning how to respond during the test.

Ms. Tan asked about the middle school curriculum, both Grades 6 and 7 have Geography and World History and Grade 8 is Civics. Ms. Perkins said that the standards were released within the last five years and the assessment is now catching up.

Mrs. Lebo asked how the Civics pilot will be scheduled to ensure that each school has the maximum teaching time, Mr. Marani said that the MCAS schedule for Mathematics and STE will be finalized first, then the Civics pilot, and finally the end of year MAP. Mr. Marani said all of the principals are aware of the need to balance this as much as possible for students.

Mrs. Hubley asked how parents are notified that they can opt out of NAEP. Mr. Marani said the parents of the selected students received a message through SMORE. Ms. Perkins said there is no opt out in Massachusetts for MCAS, we encourage students to take the MCAS as the district is evaluated on participation level.

Mrs. Cahill said these are state mandates, hopes the state can realize the stress they are putting on students. These are not assessments the district is choosing for students to take.

Mr. Bregoli said the closer students get to the end of the school year, the more difficult it is to get students to focus, the assessment results may not be what is hoped for. Ms. Perkins said the assessments are stressful for the teachers as well.

Mr. Bregoli asked if a student doesn’t participate in MCAS, Ms. Perkins said it counts against the school.

Mrs. Perdios noted that VOCAL survey is at the end of the MCAS assessment, the data may reflect students’ frustration

Mrs. Perdios suggested that information about the NAEP be shared with all Point Webster families so they know about the process and random selection.

Ms. Tan asked about the PARCC assessment, that is no longer administered in Massachusetts

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to adjourn at 7:40 pm, seconded by Mrs. Hubley. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.